Briefing and Interiors. The former a cerebral, investigative process to develop a project brief, which will in turn become the spine around which a project is built; the latter a visceral, aesthetic pursuit, often the final word in a new construction. Uncomfortable bedfellows perhaps, though one cannot exist usefully without the other. ‘Through discipline comes freedom’ (Aristotle), and so it is that by careful research, survey and study we define the boundaries that liberate our thinking.
It is precisely this strategy that we have employed at the Glasgow School of Art where the disparate, fractured campus, with the riven Mackintosh building at it’s heart, is made tangible through careful analysis to inform our pursuit of a cohesive identity. ‘Hard’ data and ‘soft’ data are neatly organised and beautifully presented to paint a vivid metaphysical picture of the School to inform and reinforce our ideas.
A philosophy emerges, in which the character of the school is re-imagined as a singular whole.
Clerkenwell Design Week was an investigative process of a different sort. The flip-side of our BIG coin. A cacophony of manufacturing innovation and design ambition, we have been reflecting on this sensory overload in recent weeks and this was an opportunity to relay our ‘best of’ selection to the rest of the office. Elegant, robust and tactile finishes were the order of the day, with exciting opportunities for the right project.
Properly done, it is the character of a client that should be most tangible in a building’s interior. This is the human front to any large-scale construction project, where the robust, the calculated and the hard give way to the sensuous and the tactile. A building’s internal finishes are much more than decoration; they are a statement of intent. First impressions are important and can be so easily shattered when a building’s interior speaks a different language from its carapace.
Client and brief, building and site, exterior and interior, great works are the product of a complex interconnectivity, not in abstract but real and discernible.